As much respect and admiration as Dana White has for Chuck Liddell, he has nothing good to say about the people who engineered his return to competition.
Liddell came out of an eight-year retirement this past Saturday for a trilogy bout with longtime rival Tito Ortiz in the headlining bout of Golden Boy Promotions first-ever MMA event. Unlike their first two meetings in 2004 and 2006, which both saw Liddell defeat Ortiz by knockout, this time it was Ortiz who left his fellow UFC light heavyweight legend out cold on the mat.
It was a grim scene, especially for those critical of Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya booking the matchup between the 48-year-old Liddell and the 43-year-old Ortiz. White was one of those skeptics and he told the UFC Unfiltered podcast on Tuesday that while he did not watch the fight live, he caught up with the results on social media the next day.
He wanted to make it clear that his issue was primarily with De La Hoya, and not his close friend Liddell.
“I love Chuck Liddell and I don’t ever want to bad mouth Chuck Liddell,” White said. “People even think I’m remotely bad mouthing Chuck Liddell, but the reality is — first of all, I heard last week the cokehead ‘Oscar De La Weirdo’ is talking shit that I don’t have any place to tell guys when to retire. First of all, it’s called ‘friendship’ you f*cking cokehead. I’ve been friends with Chuck Liddell for 20 years and the reality is that Chuck Liddell retired when he should have retired. Eight, nine years ago, however long it was. And Chuck Liddell’s almost 50 years old and has no business fighting anymore. The fact that the state of California even let that fight happen is disgusting. Disgusting.
“Chuck Liddell has an incredible legacy. He’s a huge superstar in this sport, so of course as a friend, anybody who claims to be a friend of Chuck Liddell and was anywhere near this fight is full of shit. They’re not a friend of Chuck Liddell. To let him go in and fight this fight is terrible.”
White acknowledged that Liddell was free to make his own choices and he recalled how difficult it was to convince “The Iceman” to call it quits on his UFC career back in 2010. One of the promotion’s most dominant and popular champions in the 2000s, Liddell ended his UFC run with five losses in his last six fights, the last three coming by way of knockout.
When news initially broke that Liddell and De La Hoya were working on the fighter’s MMA comeback, White said it would “bum me out” to see Liddell fight again. He’s even more incensed now after seeing the payout for De La Hoya’s first MMA show, given the boxer’s bluster about how the UFC compensated its fighters.
“The problem is Chuck Liddell was a fighter,” White said. “Chuck Liddell loves to fight, that’s his passion, it’s what he loves in life. But there comes a day and age, fighting is a young man’s game. You can’t do it. And Oscar f*king De La Hoya says, ‘Oh, come over to Golden Boy where we respect the fighters and it makes me sick what these fighters were paid’ and all this shit. Out of 14 fights on the card, five bouts were amateur fights. Which means he didn’t pay them jack shit, right? And 12 of the professional fighters on the card made less than [$3,000 show and $3,000 to win]. What the f*ck are you talking about you cokehead junkie?
“Some of the guys on the card made $1,000 and $1,000. And he respects the fighters so much, he couldn’t remember their f*king names at the press conference.”
Citing De La Hoya’s documented issues with substance abuse, White accused him of “snorting a ton of cocaine” and letting others handle the bulk of the planning for Saturday’s event. He added that while at first he thought the bout would just fall through on its own, once he saw the wheels were in motion he remained hopeful that a major commission would refuse to sanction it.
The bout ended up taking place at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., where it was overseen by the California State Athletic Commission.
It remains to be seen how successful Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 was from a financial standpoint, but White doesn’t expect anyone to be pleased with the returns in the long run, including his old rival Ortiz.
“Tito and ‘Oscar De La Dummy’ were made for each other,” White said. “First of all, Tito says, ‘Hey, you guys want to get paid. Come over to Golden Boy MMA.’ Are you kidding me? Wait a couple of months until this whole thing pans out. Everybody’s going to be suing everybody in a couple of months. There was no money made over there. De La Hoya’s a moron. An absolute moron. And I don’t know how Chuck allowed himself to be talked into this stupid shit.”
White even had a suggestion for how De La Hoya should be punished for putting together what he perceived to be an unjustifiable show: The 45-year-old should put the gloves on himself and get back in the ring.
“I hope somebody talks De La Hoya into fighting again,” White said. “I hope the state of California makes the fight and I hope he gets f*cking knocked out just like Chuck Liddell did in the first round. F*cking cokehead nutball.”